Making tomato sauces

 About a year ago I asked a question on how to keep tomato sauce from separating after cooking down and canning. Since then I’ve tried a couple experiments that have greatly improved my sauce that I thought I’d share with you.

 To boil the sauce down I took your idea of the roasting pan and used a table top electric version. It holds three times more than most any other pot and will go for hours without burning the sauce. I just have to check the water in the bottom of the roaster every few hours to keep it from going dry. Second is the use of an immersion blender. When the sauce is pretty close to the consistency you want you use the immersion blender and blend it half to death to break up the tomato “meat” clumps. Blend till super smooth and finish the thickening process.

 Lastly, to cut the sharp acid tartness of it without sugar is to use lemon juice. Fresh is better than bottled “lemon” juice. I haven’t worked out a tried and true ratio yet, but it mellows the sauce and doesn’t leave a lemony taste behind. Sugar can still be added to add sweetness though.

 Dion Fotinakes

Orangeville, Illinois

 Thanks for your tips, Dion! I’m sure readers will appreciate it as I do! Tomato season is upon us! — Jackie

 Hoop house

 You have mentioned your hoop house several times and I was wondering if you purchased a kit and if so, from what company? Do you have the house covered on the ends, also? What materials did you use for the covering and also for the bent hoops? I am hoping to use one next year and could use some advice.

 Deborah Motylinski

Brecksville, Ohio

 Keep watch for the Sept/Oct 2011 issue, which should be in your mailbox soon. I wrote an article not only on our hoop house, but other temporary greenhouses I have and use. No it was not a kit. Our stuff is pretty much home built, on the cheap! We used a piece of 6 mil plastic we had leftover from another project and 3/4″ PVC pipe (1″ would be stronger in the wind). In the article, you’ll see construction (which took an afternoon and was easy) and other hoop house/temporary greenhouse ideas. — Jackie